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When the Sacred Ginmill Closes Mass Market Paperback – Apr 30 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (April 30 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380728257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380728251
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #299,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The prolific, Edgar Awardwinning Block has written many mysteries, most in assorted series with colorful protagonists. Featured here is Matt Scudder in his follow-up appearance to Eight Million Ways to Die. Scudder is a former New York cop, now an unlicensed private detective who does favors for friends. Divorced from his wife, who lives with their sons on Long Island, Scudder rooms in a West Side hotel. His real home, however, is any one of three or four local bars, and his family are their owners, staff and habitues. In the summer of 1975, Matt is busy with assorted favors. Tommie Tillary, an investment salesman in flashy clothes, whose wife has been murdered in Bay Ridge, needs to be cleared of suspicion. The real booksas opposed to those shown to the IRSstolen from Skip Devoe's bar must be ransomed, and the masked gunmen who robbed the Morrisey brothers' after-hours place have to be identified. Drinking steadily all summer, Scudder accomplishes all of the above, his intuition, doggedness and respect for a higher law sputtering through the alcoholic haze. Block is an accomplished storyteller, and Matt Scudder is a fine example of hero as human being. Mystery Guild selection.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Chilling"--" Washington Post""Ambitious and intense...A compelling and memorable novel."--" San Francisco Chronicle"

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this book, Matthew Scudder reminisces about a period in the early seventies, when he was an alcoholic and helped out some of his drinking buddies. The narative is taut, the language is excellent and the scenarios are entirely plausible. This is perhaps one of Scudder's best books, although it is somewhat underrated. This book does not have the anticlimactic ending like in the later Scudder novels, and leaves the reader refreshed. I simply could not get up before finishing the book.
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By snalen on June 26 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was none too taken with the first in the Matthew Scudder series "The Sins of the Fathers". But then I picked this one up at an airport, thinking I'd try something from a bit later before giving up. I'm afraid I think I'll give up now.
The book is mildly engaging. But Block cannot really write at all well. He can't do character; he can't do dialogue and he can't do narrative rhythm. Of course that doesn't leave much.
Take character: his characters are generally given idiosyncratic habits, such as Scudder's of giving a portion of his earning to the church or his friend Skip's of stubbing out cigarette in drinks while at the same instant voicing facetious disapproval of so doing. This seems to be a clumsy efort to make these people distinctive but it doesn't work at all. They are intersubstitutable ciphers whose arbitrary and inadequately motivated idiosyncracies do not stop them from remaining dead on the page.
Thematically, this is a book about drunks, about people most of whose waking hours are spent sitting in bars sustained by whisky. But his characters don't really convince as drunks - they don't talk like drunks and they don't think like drunks - and the atmosphere of delinquent oblivion Block seeks to create is strikingly absent, perhaps, inter alia, because his prose is so lacking in in any kind of sensual conviction.
Suspense too is never delivered. Indeed the rather dull chapter 16, which tells the tale of the delivery of a payoff to recover some stolen account books could provide a textbook case of writing that is clearly intended to be gripping and full of suspense and isn't even faintly anything of the kind.
I'd been told Block was one of the very best American crime writers. If the sample I have read is at all representative, I hope that is wrong. If it's right, American crime writing is in some trouble.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was introduced to Lawrence Block's tales of Matthew Scudder relatively recently, but I believe I have made up for lost time. There is something about this tough guy detective that adds a level to these stories that similar series', such as Robert Parker's, do not have. No doubt this is due to Scudder's recovery from alcoholism. AA meetings and wisdom permeate the series, sometimes as a major theme and sometimes as background music. It never interferes with the story itself but it adds much to Scudder's character and makes the tales more accessible.
"When the Sacred Ginmill Closes" was written in 1986. Scudder narrates from the viewpoint of that year, but the story actually takes place 10 years earlier, when Scudder was still drinking heavily. It is very much a bar story; most of the action takes place in and around these establishments in New York City and its environs. There are many Irish in the story, as players, bartenders and owners, so there is always just a dash of an accent in the air. When the wife of one friend is murdered, and the illegal accounting records of another are stolen, Matthew Scudder is drawn in as 'a friend who does favors for money.' Scudder, an ex-cop who left the force when a ricocheting bullet accidentally killed a child, survives by being a not quite private eye in the moments between drinks.
This is a tough story, about hard-bitten people. While drinking hasn't destroyed the lives of any of Scudder's friends yet, it has hollowed many of them out. Beneath the smiling exteriors lie anger and greed and sorrow. As Matthew digs and considers in his search for answers, he uncovers much of the masquerade. This is a story about betrayals, some subtle and some not.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
. Matthew Scudder is Lawrence Block's remarkable private investigator. He's a former NYPD detective who left the force after an accident left a child dead in a crossfire. Because he is unlicensed you can't "hire" him. Instead he does you a favor by taking your case and solving the crime. In exchange for the favor the client returns the favor by giving him some cash. Scudder is an alcoholic. Rarely do you find him without a drink in has hand or at one of has favorite watering holes. "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes" takes place in 1975 when a telephone call still costs a dime. In this exciting novel we find Scudder searching for Skip Devoe's tax records. Tommy Tillary's wife is dead and our hero has to find who killed her and clear Timmy. Tim Pat's after-hours place is robbed and Matt has to find out who committed that crime as well. There are several intertwined plots, which makes this Block novel suspenseful and exciting. An afterthought: Matthew Scudder is a realistic, likeable character. In the early books we find that after he left the NYPD he took up drinking and left his wife and two sons. From time to time she asks Scudder to send more money because "we need it." Scudder generally obliges. Although not living with his family Scudder is not distant from them. He speaks to his boys on the phone and brings them into the city for a ball game. For some reason that Scudder doesn't know finds himself visiting churches and leaving a donation, tithing, ten percent of money recently received from a client. Scudder says Catholic churches receive donations for than others because they are generally open at late hours. Although he's not a religious man he finds peace and solitude in the almost always empty sanctuary he visits.
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